Up until the late 1700s, this island’s only inhabitants were American Indians. The population today is around 11,000 and there are currently about 4,000 households on the island. The entire island is 37 square miles. There are no bridges to connect the island with the mainland; this contributes to the island's isolation from neighboring cities. Vashon Island School District has 1 high school, 1 middle school, and 1 elementary school. There are also 2 private schools on the island.
The Tahlequah Ferry Terminal is located on the southern end of the island and is connected to the Point Defiance area of Tacoma. On the northern end of the island you can find the Heights Dock at Point Vashon, which services the ferry docks that travel toward Seattle. Water taxis are provided by the King County Ferry District with 3 taxis traveling in different directions multiple times a day during the week.
In 1890, Vashon Islanders began growing strawberries to sell. This development became an important part of the Island’s economy during the next 5 decades. This year, the city of Vashon celebrates its 110th Strawberry Festival. Today, there is little agriculture found on Vashon Island because of the pressures of residential development. Despite this, the community continues to celebrate the traditional Strawberry Festival every July.
The Festival includes a parade, a car show with classic vehicles, multiple musical performances, vendor booths, a carnival, local artists, and street dancers. If you get there early enough you can enjoy some homemade pancakes, and later in the day you can hang out at the beer garden late into the night.
Lavender Hill Farm
This family-owned lavender farm was purchased in 2006 and was opened to the public for visitors to come walk through the many rows of lavender and pick bunches for themselves. One can find over 20 different varieties of lavender in these fields, as well as over 800 plants. The owners also offer assistance in making wreaths from the flowers you pick. This gorgeous venue is also a popular spot for weddings.
The Hardware Store Restaurant
Nearly 15 years ago, a woman on the island purchased an empty old hardware store and turned it into possibly the most well-known restaurant on the island to this day. Not just any restaurant, this business serves dishes that many could argue are perfectly presented. The Hardware Store is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has become a gathering place in the town that embodies the unique character of the island and its people — relaxed, informal, welcoming, caring.
This winery holds regular oenology classes and programs, and guides visitors and students in growing their expertise. In early 2005, Palouse Winery expanded into the northern end of Vashon Island. Here they currently produce nearly 1,500 cases of handcrafted wine every year.
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